The Maxell reel also completely surrounds the tape, except for a small slit from the reel center 
insert point to the outside. Perhaps that, the bag and the cardboard box with a laminated outer 
coating all combined as a moisture barrier?

Anyway, interesting. The other interesting thing was, I know it's totally un-Kosher to splice 
together 1-mil and 1.5 mil tapes, but there was no damage or level drop at the splice-point, and, 
given that I'm sure I didn't go in and re-calibrate anything when I grabbed that remnant of 456 to 
fill out the reel, it's interesting that the Maxell tape operated close enough to the 456 parameters 
to not sound different at all, to my ears. Keep in mind that this tape is a dub, so it's not an 
un-colored clone of a pristine source. I was also impressed that Maxell came up with a back-coat 
formula that is first of all stable but also resulted in very low print-through despite 30+ years of 
tight-wound storage.

-- Tom Fine

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Richard L. Hess" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Wednesday, December 16, 2015 10:09 PM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Interesting sticky-shed data point

> Hi, Tom,
> The sticky shed faeries were with you? Like one tape that exploded on me but only the guitar intro 
> was lost...the deceased singer's vocal was intact.
> Anyway...seriously, perhaps being under high-pressure at the hub helped, but I generally find that 
> the most vulnerable section.
> As you know, plastic bags (I think generally polyethylene) are not excellent vapor barriers, so 
> your guess is as good as mine.
> Very interesting.
> Thanks for sharing.
> Cheers,
> Richard
> On 12/16/2015 7:47 PM, Tom Fine wrote:
>> I just transferred a reel of tape I made back in 1982 at a major NYC
>> recording studio. It was a dub of something. I thought the reel was all
>> Maxell UDXL 35-90, 1-mil back-coated and I've heard few if any reports
>> of it going sticky. The tape played just fine, absolutely no residue
>> from rewinding or playback (it's a 2-track 7.5IPS tape, transfer was
>> done on a Technics 1520). Now here's where it gets interesting. I didn't
>> remember this, but the end of the reel was spliced-in Ampex 456, and it
>> wasn't sticky. I didn't know this before rewinding because I had kept
>> the Maxell end of reel leader tape and just spliced in the Ampex tape
>> because I needed 5 minutes more time at the end of the reel. The reason
>> I noticed this was I was monitoring the end of the tape, heard a splice
>> go through the transport and noticed that the tape oxide color was
>> suddenly brown instead of gray-black like Maxell UDXL. When the tape
>> finished, I wound out the leader tape and examined the end of the
>> spliced-on section. It was definitely 1.5-mil Ampex 456 (that was the
>> only tape available at the studio to splice into my Maxell reel, they
>> were an all-Ampex shop). I felt the tape front and back with my fingers,
>> and didn't feel the tell-tale gummy-sticky-greasy texture of
>> sticky-shed. And, there was no evidence of any layers sticking together.
>> Plus, as I said, no residue on any moving or fixed guides or the tape
>> heads.
>> I have no idea why this piece of tape didn't go sticky. I'm wondering if
>> the non-sticky Maxell tape, making up most of the reel, can somehow
>> absorb or mitigate whatever causes the sticky-shed? It's also worth
>> noting that this tape has always been stored in the plastic bag within
>> the cardboard box.
>> If I had known the section of Ampex 456 was spliced in to the reel, I
>> would have baked the whole thing before playing it. I'm glad it turned
>> out I didn't need to.
>> I'm interested in any theories as to why that piece of 456 wasn't
>> sticky. Other reels of 456 that I recorded at that studio at that time
>> have all been sticky and required baking.
>> -- Tom Fine
> -- 
> Richard L. Hess                   email: [log in to unmask]
> Aurora, Ontario, Canada                             647 479 2800
> Quality tape transfers -- even from hard-to-play tapes.